illustration of a TV

Credit: TV illustration by Maaike Flissebaalje (cc)

Using broadcast media, such as film, television and radio programmes, in teaching gives new options for classroom and online content. Used as an example or discussion point, short clips can engage students by generating debate and by varying teaching formats, creating ‘motivating, memorable and inclusive learning experiences’ (JISC 2015).

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) makes using audio-visual resources in teaching simple. As both an archive of past broadcasts and an off-air recording service, BoB contains over a million television and radio programmes from over 60 channels that can be streamed online and in teaching sessions. BoB is available to staff and students from UWL and other subscribing universities within the UK, with all users adding their recordings to the shared archive.

BoB’s cross-disciplinary archive stretches back to 2007 and, unlike other ‘catch-up’ streaming services, the programmes are kept indefinitely (so won’t disappear just before a class) and BoB also includes films free of charge. The archive is easily searchable and you can even search within programme transcripts to find the exact scene you need. To add a recording to the archive, you can browse the last 30 days of programmes, or browse up to 30 days ahead to schedule a recording once the programme is broadcast.

BoB allows you to create and save clips from programmes, embed these in presentations or blackboard, and create and share playlists of programmes or clips. Playlists can be shared with students via URL or by adding the module information to the playlist name, making it easy to find in the database. You can also create a ‘viewing list’ for students by embedding clips or programmes in Blackboard, or bookmarking them in your UWLReadingList (Willmott 2014).

Over the summer of 2015, the Library will be working on a JISC funded project to develop an enhanced training package to support the use of Box of Broadcasts research, teaching and learning.

The presentation above demonstrates the main functions of BoB for teaching staff.

Further reading:

JISC Digital Media (2015) Guide: Using Video in Teaching and Learning [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2015]

Willmott, C (2014) Boxing clever: television as a teaching tool. Times Higher Education, 28 August 2014 [Online]. Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2015]


Author: Evelyn Jamieson is the Academic Support Librarian for the Ealing School of Art, Design and Media, University of West London.